This is the Brexit election. It was called because of Brexit. It will define Brexit and all of the parties have Brexit at the core of their manifestos.
The Conservatives are asking us to back a hard Brexit. Lowering immigration at the core and would come at the expense of a trade deal if necessary. In Theresa May’s Lancaster House speech in January, when she warned that “no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal”.
Labour wants a soft Brexit. Keir Starmer MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, set out Labour’s approach to Brexit: “We will scrap the Government’s Brexit White Paper and replace it with fresh negotiating priorities that…will have a strong emphasis on retaining the benefits of the Single Market and the Customs Union”.
A vote The Liberal Democrats leaves the option to Remain. Leader Tim Farron said ” the Liberal Democrats are committed to keeping Britain in the single market. We believe the British people should have the final say on the Brexit deal, including the option to remain in the EU”.
That’s right, we can remain in the EU if enough people vote for the LibDems but the polls say that’s not happening. Perhaps people don’t understand or believe that we have the democratic option to reverse a decision that was more about the political ambitions of a bunch of old Etonians than it was about the future the 65 million.
Keir Starmer MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, set out Labour’s approach to Brexit, today.
At the heart of Labour’s plans are remaining inside the Single Market and the Customs Union or building a bespoke trading arrangement and tearing up Theresa May’s plan for a hard Brexit.
“We will scrap the Government’s Brexit White Paper and replace it with fresh negotiating priorities that…will have a strong emphasis on retaining the benefits of the Single Market and the Customs Union as we know that is vital to protecting jobs and the economy”
Starmer also outlined a new approach to dealing with EU nationals in the UK, guaranteeing their right to stay: “on day one of a Labour Government we will immediately guarantee that all EU nationals currently living in the UK will see no change in their legal status as a result of Brexit, and we will seek reciprocal measures for UK citizens in the EU”
Labour also plans to replace the Tories’ Great Repeal Bill with an EU Rights and Protections Bill, which will make sure that all EU-derived laws are fully protected.
Independent centrist Emmanuel Macron is the favourite to be the next French President, having come top in the first round of voting. He will face National Front leader Marine Le Pen in the run off election on 7 May 2017. If he wins at 39, he will be the youngest French head of state since Napoleon.
The incumbent president François Hollande of the Socialist Party decided not to run because of poor approval ratings. The candidate for the Socialist Party, Benoit Hamon received just 6% of the vote.
The presidential election will be followed by the for members of the National Assembly (the French parliament) on 11 and 18 June.
The full results of the first round vote were as follows:
|Marine Le Pen
||La France insoumise
||Debout la France
||New Anticapitalist Party
||Popular Republican Union
||Solidarity and Progress
Boris Johnson has been preparing for years to be Foreign Secretary. In a special BoJo guide to global diplomacy we remind you of how he has described the world leaders and nations that he will now have to work with and influence:
Barack Obama, US President – a “part-Kenyan” with an “ancestral dislike” of Britain.
Hillary Clinton, Democratic Nominee for US President – “like a sadistic nurse in a mental hospital”.
Queen Elizabeth ll – loves the Commonwealth because “it supplies her with regular cheering crowds of flag-waving piccaninnies.”
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkish president – “a terrific wankerer”.
China – “Chinese cultural influence is virtually nil, and unlikely to increase.”
Greece – “They make us pay in our taxes for Greek olive groves, many of which probably don’t exist.”
Papua New Guinea – “orgies of cannibalism and chief-killing”.
Ireland – St Patrick’s day celebrations are “lefty crap”.
The Congo – “tribal warriors who will all break out in watermelon smiles”.
Canada – Actually Boris seems to like Canada. It’s where he based himself whilst Mayor of London for much on the London Riots of 2012.
As we prepare for the results of this week’s European election, here are the results of the last vote in June 2004. The turnout in the UK was 38.2%.
|UK Independence Party
|British National Party
|Respect – The Unity Coalition
|Scottish National Party
Today has been an extraordinary day in British Politics. In July 1962 Prime Minister Harold Macmillan organised a major Cabinet reshuffle known as the ‘the night of long knives’ (after the nazi purge of the brown shirts). Eight Ministers were sacked in one go.
Today the knives have been directed at the prime minister. Less than 24 hours after criticising James Purnell for his resignation Caroline Flint added hers to the growing list of ministerial resignations. Her resignation became public knowledge whilst Brown was in mid press conference insisting that he would continue to lead the country and the party and though neither “arrogant” nor “complacent” believed himself to be the best person for the job. Whilst resolute Brown’s assertions were reminiscent of Thatcher’s insistence at a Paris press briefing in 1990 that she would stand in a second ballot for the Tory leadership. She didn’t.
When the European results heap more humiliation on Labour on Sunday the heat will be turned up another notch. Next week like so many before it will be a long one for Labour and for Brown.